Vuelta a España (st. 12)
Third place for Alejandro Valverde in the Galician wall after excellent work from Movistar Team in the closing stages, taking the Spaniard less than 30 seconds from the GC podium
Alejandro Valverde offered his best again today to approach the podium places in the 2012 Vuelta a España at the infamous Mirador de Ézaro, a short Cat. 3 climb with slopes up to 29% putting an end into the 190km stage twelve from Vilagarcía de Arousa. Movistar Team took most of the responsibility for another day in search for the four escapees on the route, an attempt which got caught already into the first kilometer of climbing after a big labour from the telephone squad to get Valverde into perfect position for the narrow opening slopes.
Valverde responded by his own pace to the strong attack from Joaquim Rodríguez (KAT) and Alberto Contador (STB) in the final part of the ascent as he left his pursuers behind to end up in a notable 3rd place, only 13 seconds behind the leader of a race where Alejandro is still in 4th overall, 1.20 behind Rodríguez but just 29 seconds down to the third place held by Chris Froome (SKY). The 2012 Vuelta will cover stage thirteen tomorrow with a bit of rest before the horrific trio of Asturian stages in the long weekend: 172km between Santiago and Ferrol with no categorized elevations.
Alejandro Valverde: “We had checked the climb through videos on the net but I didn’t really know it. This was a finish suiting perfectly as well Alberto as Purito, and when the latter attacked, I didn’t even think about going for his wheel. I had very clear in mind I had to set my pace to lose as little time as possible, and then riding the last 200 meters on full throttle. We’re still with good racing condition, but such explosive finishes are not good for me and we have to suffer. Now I’m 1.20 down, but closer to the podium than before, and that’s something to be happy. We’ll see how my legs do for the three Asturian stages, where most of this Vuelta will get sorted out. Alberto and Purito are really strong while Froome seems to be suffering from the efforts in the Tour but he’s still into the fight, so this contest is going to be hard.”